JFK 50 Miler

April 20th, 2010 - Race - Lowell, MA - 3.1

Day 110 - Spring arrived late this year.

Tonight was the first of 8 weeks of the Good Times Spring Series in Lowell, MA. This is a weekly running series like no other (I stole that from the site).

My run at Boston the day before was just a warm up for tonight's race. This series is near and dear to my heart as this was the series, last year, that basically got me back into running/racing, and the rest is history.

The biggest plus for me is that the race is in my hometown of Lowell, and the start/finish is only a 5 minute jog from my apartment. Great for a cooldown/warmup run before the festivities begin (and end) at Hookslide's.

After a semi-successful Boston run, I decided to just take it easy and work from home in order to spend time with Rachel and the boys, and to also prepare for Good Times at 7PM. My secret weapon tonight was going to be Salonpas. I had grabbed a handful of these freebies at the Marathon Expo and was now attaching it to every part of my upper leg (and higher) that could possibly cramp up/go limp.

I took a 20 minute dog nap around 5, and was out the door by 6 with my GLRR gear on. The Salonpas was working its magic and I could feel my quads and hamstrings loosen up tremendously. Domo arigato Hisamitsu Pharmaceutical Co!

I jogged the half mile to Hookslides and saw Matt S. warming up with his signature orange hat. The registration line at Hookslides was almost out the door when I arrived. I was greeted by a bunch of familiar and not-so-familair faces. I also received a bunch of 'congratulations' for my run at Boston, which was very heart-warming.

Eventually, I got to the front of the registration line and was greeted by 2009 GLRR RD of the Year, Nancy S., and fellow Boston runner, Jessica C. working the hectic registrations. I noticed right away that Jessica had had her Boston medal permanently attached to her neck.

I received my #14 B-Tag bib, which was in itself another historic footnote to a historic Good Times night. From the man himself, here's Dave Camire describing the new timing device:

The Good Times Series became the first weekly series in the region, perhaps all of New England, to institute chip timing. Each participant is given a bib with a chip affixed to the back. As they cross the finish line mat each entrant is automatically timed. This technology is known as a B-Tag and is one of the most revolutionary products to hit the running industry in years. You'll be hearing lots about it going forward.

After getting my gear on and making some small talk, I completed a one mile warm up around the neighborhood. I eventually ran into grandfather Fil, hobbling around more like a great grandmother, but he looked ready to race too. It was nice to see that his sister Owey, and our good friend, Kelly were also signed up for the series!

The last minute runners were now arriving, and the registration line was definitely out the door at this point. The race was now delayed until a little after 7 to accommodate Tom O's. late arrival.

With time to kill, I began looking around for more familiar faces. This place was turning into Cheers for me. There was Glenn, EJ, Jimmy S., Kim S., Mike S., Dave L., Joe D., Titus "Mutinda", Jonathan M., Keith O., Eric M., Bill A., Scott O., Mark C., Dana B., Paul H., Kara H., Linda M., Ryan H., Meb K., Mark Co., Melanie H., George B., and even Hans Gruber from Die Hard! I'm not sh*tting you!

To think that a year ago, I couldn't even pick any of these unusual suspects from a police line-up! Mysteriously missing tonight was Ricky B. and Frank G., but I hear that they will make their presence known next Tuesday.

After the usual plug for next week's race, and race instructions from Dave, spring was finally underway!

My legs felt great under me, and nothing exploded, so that was a good start. Eric had an even greater start, leading the pack into the first turn at sub 6's. The lead pack dispersed a bit heading down to the river walk where I comfortably fell back into about 8th place as Joe and Titus battled for first place.

Tonight's course altered a bit from the usual Good Times course due to construction behind the ball field. After grabbing some water from 2009 GLRR Volunteer of the Year, Jim S. I made my way up onto the street level with Eric, stride-for-stride next to me. My winter track partner in crime/pacer, Keith O. was about 3 seconds ahead of me as we jockeyed for position on the hill towards the University Ave bridge walkway, crossing Mile 1 in 5:49. Keith managed to keep the lead, and there was no room for me to pass him on the narrow/crowded walkway.

I drafted behind Keith until we got to the downhill portion of the VFW, where Jonathan came out of nowhere and made a pass (non-sexual) at me and Keith. I nearly tripped Keith (sorry!) in the process of getting around him, trying to keep up with Jonathan. By the time Mile 2 came and went in 6:02, Jonathan had fallen back by only a small margin. I could definitely still hear his footsteps as we made our way over the Aiken St bridge, and back down to the river walk for the home stretch.

My back started to tense up a bit at this point, so I consciously told myself to relax and just focus on my form, knowing that everything else would fall into place. That did the trick as I managed to pick up a little speed every time I heard Jonathan try to make another move (this time it might have been sexual). It was getting quite intense with about a quarter mile to go!

I knew that Jonathan still had a strong finishing kick to unleash on me before we were done.

I could finally see the red of the timing clock, and hear the beeps of the timing mats, after the final twist and turns of the finish area. Right on cue, I could hear Jonathan pound on the pavement for the final tenth of a mile, which forced me to kick with every last ounce of my micro-torn leg muscles! This was the finishing kick that I wish I had had the day before at Boston! I guess I just needed someone like Jonathan to kick my ass into a higher gear.

Jonathan and I basically crossed the finish line at the same time, me in 18:24.7, and him with a PR of 18:26.2. Hot damn, that was awesome! Nice run and push, my friend!

I missed my 5K PR by about 13 seconds, but there's always next week to earn a Miley.

After watching and congratulating the other finishers for a few more minutes, I took off for my cooldown and for home.


It's going to be a kick-ass series if every week is going to be like tonight, less the marathon pains.


  1. Less the marathon pains I think you will be running sub 18's and continaully kicking all of our asses. Joe and Mr "Mutinda" may need to glance over their shoulder...Great race Jason and nice recap.

  2. Thanks Mr. Anonymous, whoever you may be!

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